ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Military and civilian employee mothers at Robins Air Force Base returning to work after pregnancies will now have access to private lactation rooms to pump breast milk for their babies.
On August 14, 2020, the Air Force published Air Force Guidance Memorandum 2020-36-01, which directs installations to provide the private rooms to breastfeeding mothers upon request.
The procedures to implement a lactation room balance the mission readiness needs of units while affording nursing mothers the opportunity to continue breastfeeding, pursuant to the United States Surgeon General’s goals for increasing breastfeeding for a period of a minimum of one year after a child’s birth, the policy letter states.
Capt. Christina Blitch, Medical Readiness Flight commander in the 78th Medical Support Squadron, is one of five Airmen serving on a taskforce to implement the policy at Robins.
Blitch said Robins already has a number of rooms available, with more to come.
“There are currently 17 lactation rooms already available, and 30 other buildings have space allocated should one of their employees request it,” she said. “In the coming months, we expect that every building manager has a plan to accommodate a request for lactation space.”
As of now, Blitch said the taskforce does not have a firm number for how many rooms will ultimately be available.
“Not every building is required to have a room at all times,” she said. “Buildings will only have to have space actively open if they have a currently lactating employee, so the number of rooms will fluctuate with the requirement.”
Blitch said making the rooms available shows new mothers they are a priority.
“The establishment of lactation rooms demonstrates how our higher level and local leadership care about their people, including their families, by allowing women to have a slightly easier time balancing their work and home life,” she said.
The work of actually creating these lactation rooms is the responsibility of the facility managers, Blitch said.
“Keeping the mission running is a high priority, but for new mothers who have chosen to breastfeed, allowing them access to a clean and secure room so they can provide food for their children is just as important to them,” she said. “These women have chosen to serve our nation, whether in active duty or civil service. Having our leaders support them in return, is a needed and appreciated step in the right direction.”
Any mother who needs access to a lactation space needs to ask her facility manager where her designated area is.
For more information, e-mail Blitch at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your unit’s first sergeant.